La Serna student scores perfect PSAT

La Serna High School student Kyle Lien is one of 16,000 students across the nation to be named a National Merit Scholar semifinalist for 2018.

La Serna High School student Kyle Lien is one of 16,000 students across the nation to be named a National Merit Scholar semifinalist for 2018.

WHITTIER – After scoring a perfect 1520 score on his PSAT, La Serna High School senior Kyle Lien has been named one of 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists for 2018, placing him in an elite group of students who constitute less than 1 percent of seniors in the nation who received the highest scores in their state.
National Merit Scholarship participants are selected based on how they score on their Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) scores, generally taken in junior year. Of the 1.6 million students who took the exam for a chance to win the prestigious $2,500 scholarship, 34,000 top scorers received a commendation and 16,000 were selected as semifinalists.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will announce the 2,500 finalists in February.
“I would like to thank all of my teachers, who have been an inspiration to me,” Lien said. “Qualifying as a semifinalist for the Merit Scholarship is a sign of my accomplishments, showing I’ve worked hard and been at the top of my class.”
Lien, who in June came within 20 points of a perfect SAT score, has a 4.5 cumulative GPA and an active school and extracurricular activity schedule that embraces community outreach, civic policy and athletics. Lien is a La Serna Link Crew member, plays for the water polo team and is a member of the campus Key Club.
Lien is applying to several UC universities, Harvard, Stanford, Northeastern and USC to pursue medicine.
“Kyle is an extraordinary student who is generous to his classmates and respectful to his teachers,” La Serna Principal Ann Fitzgerald said. “Kyle is the ultimate team player, poised to be a tremendous scholar and future leader of his community. We are so proud of his accomplishments thus far and can’t wait to see what awaits him.”
As one of the school’s’ top students, Lien was nominated in June to serve as an American Legion Boys State delegate, traveling to Sacramento with 1,000 high school students to take part in a weeklong civics forum. Students created mock governments and learned the difference between city, county and state administrations.
In addition to rejoicing over Lien’s success, La Serna is also celebrating eight Commended Student recognitions. Placing among the top 50,000 scorers are Courtney Bylsma, Maya Delgado, Connelly Green, Andre Lee, Ye Lee, Sarah Saltikov, Emilie Silvio and Christen Tai.
California High School senior Rochelle Casement also earned recognition as a Commended Student.
“I want to congratulate Kyle for reaching this tremendous accomplishment and commend our other high-achieving students for reaching such an elite status,” Whittier Union High School District Superintendent Martin Plourde said. “We are committed to providing every student the opportunity to realize his or her highest potential in college and career, and with the support and dedication of our teachers and staff, our students continue to perform and make Whittier Union proud.”

Lakewood native serves in Navy’s “silent service” half a world away

jonathan thompson.jpg

By Lt. Eileen Suarez, Navy Office of Community Outreach

SANTA RITA, GUAM - A 2010 Mayfair High School graduate and Lakewood native is serving in the U.S. Navy’s silent service as part of a crew working aboard one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, USS Chicago.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Thompson is a sonar technician serving aboard the Guam-based submarine, one of 40 Los Angeles-class submarines making it the backbone of the submarine force.

A Navy sonar technician is responsible for the safety of the ship. They are the eyes and ears of the boat when they are underway.

“My family taught me perseverance. It took me three years to get into the Navy and because of my perseverance I made it.,” said Thompson. “My cousin is in the military and he is the one who got me into submarines. He and I have always had similar interests, and if he liked it then I knew I would as well.”
With a crew of 130, this submarine is 360 feet long and weighs approximately 6,900 tons. A nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the submarine through the water at nearly 30 mph.

Attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.

“Guam is a unique homeport with the missions we conduct and the high caliber of Sailors we have stationed here,” said Cmdr. Brian Turney, Chicago’s commanding officer. “My crew in particular is incredibly talented, and I am proud of the hard work and dedication they show each and every day.”

According to Navy officials, submariner sailors are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. The training is highly technical and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain, and repair every system or piece of equipment on board.  Regardless of their specialty, everyone also has to learn how everything on the sub works and how to respond in emergencies to become “qualified in submarines” and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.

“Getting the submarine warfare pin has been my greatest accomplishment. It defines you within the Navy as someone who can be trusted to do the right thing,” said Thompson. “Your shipmates can sleep at night with you on watch.”

Challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the crew, Thompson explained. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions.  It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

“Being in the Navy has made me more well-rounded person and I have been able to see the world in a different view,” added Thompson. “I have been in Guam three years and my favorite part of being here is enjoying the island life.”

Shared Stories: A Brother Bill Remembered

Mervin Chantland was the ninth of 11 children born to his parents.  The following is Mervin’s recording of what an older brother told him of family stories and life in the Midwest farmland.  Ballpoint pens were treasured Christmas gifts, but the boys also played some dangerous games.  Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center.  Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program.  Curated by Carol Kearns

By Mervin Chantland
When Dad and Uncle Bert lived on a farm near Battle Lake, Minnesota, they had all of their friends over for a party. They had purchased a keg of beer and were having fun.

There was a gang of boys at Battle Lake that decided that they were tough enough to bust the beer party. They possibly had been drinking too and decided to bust Dad and Bert’s party. They came to the party and started trouble.

I was told a guy named Geo Anderson was the leader. Dad got into it with him. After the fight they washed Anderson off in the stock tank and the water turned red from all of the blood.  Dad was left-handed and very fast with his fists. The others at the party told my dad that he had better not go to Battle Lake as they were sure that Anderson and his brothers would be waiting to get even. Dad said he decided he was going to town and get it settled, as this was his home. He met Anderson in town, they talked and became good friends.  

He told my dad, “You hit where you don’t look.” That was because Dad was left-handed and very fast.

Mom’s brother, who we always called Uncle Carl, had a tavern and store at Mahatowa, Minnesota, in the late 1930’s. I can remember at Christmas time that we would get a large box of candy from Uncle Carl.  He would go in his store and fill a box with candy bars and send it to us.  We were very thankful as we got very few treats, especially candy bars.

Cousin Alfred Chantland built a seed-cleaning plant in Badger.  Al had Dad dynamite a stump right in town, not half a block from the Co-op gas station. Boy, that shook them up. Al never forgot that and had many good laughs over it.

While we lived on the Bradley place, I remember we had an old bike.  I would ride on the cross bar and Lawrence on the back, and Kermit would peddle. One time they had just graded the big hill by our school. The school was on top of the hill, so it was downhill right out of the school yard.  

That hill doesn’t seem so steep today, but from the handle bars of a bike, it looked pretty steep.  We were heading down that hill.  I was sitting on the front, Kermit was peddling, and Lawrence was on the back. It had just rained and the newly-graded hill was slick as grease. We didn’t get hurt, but I remember sliding head first down that hill on my stomach.  Kermit and Lawrence were right behind.

We used to walk across a field to school, barefooted.  There was a big briar patch, and I would tip toe through them and try not to get stuck.  Lawrence said just run through real fast, and I did. We made it. I can’t remember if it hurt or not, but I never did it again.    

By 1938 sister Kay worked in Fort Dodge and sister Florence worked somewhere also. One year they got us all boxing gloves for Christmas.  We would go out to the barn and have it out.  Somehow we kept it friendly.  We never became fighters, but had a lot of fun.  I can remember having them gloves on for years.

One year they got us ice skates, and boy was that fun.  As one of us grew out of one pair, we grew into the next pair.  I think Kay gave us about four pair that Christmas. We would go to Larson Lake and go skating.  The lake was about a half mile west of our school. One time Grodon Frette and others went to the lake with us and we would play hockey and have a great time.

In 1941 we got a new H Farmall tractor. Boy, that was something.  I can remember drawing pictures of it. It was red and new; it even had rubber tires, a starter, and lights.  Wow, that was a jewel to us kids!

In the fall of 1946, when I attended junior high school at Fort Dodge, the first ballpoint pen came on the market. It was called the Reynolds Rocket. It came in different colored aluminum and had a tip cover that would slide down and cover the point.  

A lot of kids in junior high had these pens and I wanted one for Christmas. Dad did get me a Reynolds Rocket. Can you imagine your child today wanting a ballpoint pen for Christmas? That pen was all I got that year but it was what I wanted and I was very happy to get it.

One time, about 1948, Eldon Hovey had a big old barn rope about 30 feet long.  We had the back section from an old horse-drawn bob sled, about five feet wide and made of heavy wood and metal runners (aka sledge).  We put a board across it and sat on it while Eldon pulled us down the snow-packed gravel road.  We would steer it with our feet and had a good time, but the rope kept breaking and finally was too short to use.  

We went to our house to find something else to pull the sled with.  What we found was a large spring about four feet long and two inches across – like a garage-door spring but much heavier.  We put that spring between the pick-up truck and sledge in place of the rope.  
Boy, this was great fun. The sledge would hit a snowdrift and stop, and when the spring stretched a bit, the sledge would break loose from the snow and give us quite a ride.

The day we were doing this, the weather was not cold and the snow was heavy and wet.  Eldon was pulling Lawrence and I down the lane at our place when the sledge went into a wet snowdrift.  I can still see the spring stretching out. Eldon didn’t see it and kept on going.  I yelled at Lawrence to jump off. I jumped off and he didn’t.  

The spring stretched out until it was a straight piece of wire. The sledge went out of that snowbank like a bullet. Lawrence went flying, but as usual, didn’t get hurt.

It was 1949 when Elden Hovey discovered that he could weld a cap on the end of a pipe and drill a hole for the fuse.  He would put black powder in it and tamp paper and a slug of some kind in it to make a cannon.  At that time farmers could buy black powder at the hardware store for farm use.  We had a lot of fun with that cannon, shootings into the air.

Shared Stories: Creamistry

Like most children, Kay Halsey always enjoyed ice cream.  An ice cream outing with her great-granddaughter prompted Kay’s memories of making ice cream by hand.  Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns

By Kay Halsey

“I scream, You scream, We all scream for ice scream.”  Even today, children recognize this cheer.

In the 1920’s all children had penny banks to save gift money.  Any other money children were given was designated for streetcar fare between school and home. 

It was two miles from my junior high school to home.  I decided I would walk home and save my money to go through the shopping area to buy a “goodie,” an ice cream cone or a pastry, with my dime.

Drug stores had small tables and chairs opposite the counter where there were many displays of different flavored ice cream. A cone cost ten cents. The salesman would put a scoop or two in the crispy cake cone and hand it to you. Then you could sit down, lick the cream, and savor the cool, sweet cream.

Picnics were other times you could look forward to large canisters of homemade ice cream.  My mother made a custard with whole milk, eggs, vanilla, and sugar and poured it into a cylinder in a churn loaded with cracked ice and rock salt. A long-stemmed paddle would be pumped up and down in the custard until it froze.  Sometimes several people shared in the half-hour job.

My memory of ice cream in the 1920’s was sparked when my daughter-in-law brought her eight-year-old granddaughter to have lunch with me. At lunch she didn’t eat anything.  We asked her what she would like.  She said, “Ice cream!”

On the car’s GPS system we found a store in Cerritos called “Creamistry.”  Each order was made by selecting whatever combination of flavors was on the menu board.

An employee would mix the ingredients in a pitcher, stir with a paddle, and apply a blast of nitrogen gas until it was frozen solid.  It was then put in whatever cone you selected and handed to you.  We took our cones outside to eat on the patio.

We enjoyed talking and licking our cones until the ice cream was all gone. It was a wonderful adventure! My great-granddaughter and I thanked my daughter-in-law for the treat, and then came a surprise.  She shared with us that the bill was $28.00 for the three cones! How times have changed!

We’d like to offer a special congratulations to Kay, who celebrated her 97th birthday last week. She is an active member of the memoirs class and a contributor to this column. Kay has shared memories of growing up in Georgia in the 1920’s and her life in Norwalk as a wife and mother.  Many in Downey know Kay from her years of golfing and tennis. She is a role model for us all. Happy 97th birthday, Kay! 

St. John Bosco names new vice principal of academic affairs

Experienced school administrator and professor,  Edgar Salmingo, Jr., has been named Vice Principal of Academic Affairs at St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower.

The announcement was made this week by the school’s principal, Dr. Christian De Larkin.

Salmingo has served as Associate Principal for Academic Life at La Salle High School in Pasadena since 2014.  He also serves as an Adjunct Professor for the Master of Educational Technology programs at California State University, Fullerton, and Concordia University in Irvine.  

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A former teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, he was also Director of Educational Technology at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello for two years prior to joining the administration at La Salle.  

Salmingo is currently earning his Doctor of Education, Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University. His Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering was earned in 2004 from University of California, Irvine, and he received his Master of Arts, Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 2008.

Upon making the announcement,  Dr. Christian De Larkin, principal, commented, “I am excited to welcome Edgar to the St. John Bosco family to lead our academic programs.  Edgar’s history of excellence in and outside of the classroom has equipped him to positively impact our academic growth, as we continue to operate at the intersection of innovation and tradition. Edgar’s unwavering passion for student success is a perfect fit for Bosco.”

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In his 11 years of experience as an educator, he has led a host of academic initiatives, including the creation of the Marine Science Academy at St. Anthony High School in partnership with the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  He has taught AP Environmental Science, AP Calculus AB/BC, and AP Biology, as well as coached the Academic Decathlon team at La Salle High School to back-to-back championships and a top-10 finish in the World Scholar’s Cup at the Tournament of Champions at Yale University. 

As an instructional leader, he has launched 1:1 iPad programs at three different high schools; built and co-wrote new UC-approved pathway programs in Digital Game Design, Introduction to Law and Sports Medicine; and implemented research-based, schoolwide initiatives in instruction, assessment, and homework that increased standardized test scores and college acceptance rates.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the team of educators at St. John Bosco High School,” remarked Mr. Salmingo upon his acceptance of the position. “I am eager to join them in preparing all of our students for academic and spiritual success by engaging them with their own passions and purpose, teaching them critical skills, and inspiring them to better our global community. Together as a community, we will advance Bosco’s mission and reputation as an outstanding college preparatory high school.”

Edgar Salmingo, Jr., and his wife Dr. Jennifer Salmingo are parents of two young sons, Trey, 5, and Landon, 3.  They are residents of La Palma.

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Alan Drew to discuss new book at Cerritos Library

CERRITOS - Author Alan Drew will discuss and sign copies of his psychological thriller "Shadow Man" in the Cerritos Library Skyline Room at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 3. The free event is open to the public.

Drew’s “Shadow Man” is about a community rocked by a serial killer and a dark secret. The book is loosely based on Richard Ramirez, “The Night Stalker” who terrorized Southern California during the summer of 1985 when Drew was a teenager.

The book will be available for purchase at the program.

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Drew is an associate professor of English at Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he directs the creative writing program. He is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a teaching/writing fellowship.

His critically acclaimed debut novel, “Gardens of Water,” has been translated into 10 languages and published in nearly two dozen countries.  

Cerritos Library is located at 18025 Bloomfield Avenue. For more information, call (562) 916-1342.

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Rio Hondo College hires new vice president of academic affairs

Dr. Laura Ramirez, who has served in administrative roles for East Los Angeles College since 2002, began as Rio Hondo College’s vice president of academic affairs on July 5.

Dr. Laura Ramirez, who has served in administrative roles for East Los Angeles College since 2002, began as Rio Hondo College’s vice president of academic affairs on July 5.

WHITTIER –  Rio Hondo College’s new vice president of academic affairs brings a background rich in community college leadership, an understanding of high school curriculum, including accelerated learning programs, oversight of academic departments and leadership on construction projects.

Dr. Laura Ramirez, who is currently vice president of academic affairs for East Los Angeles College (ELAC), began her new post on July 5.

She replaces JoAnna Schilling, who held the job on an interim basis before leaving to lead Cypress College as its president.

SEE ALSO: Cerritos College accreditation reaffirmed by state commission

“Dr. Ramirez understands the demands of community colleges, including the challenges faced by our high schools and the need to effectively connect with our community as we build our programs and services,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said. “We’re very excited she is joining us.”

Ramirez’s hiring was approved by the Board of Trustees at its June 14 meeting.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the exciting mission at Rio Hondo College,” Ramirez said. “This is a college that is taking bold steps to ensure our students have the best possible opportunities to pursue their higher education dreams.”

She received an Associate of Arts degree from ELAC, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from UCLA, a Master of Science in analytical chemistry from Cal State Fullerton and a doctorate of education in community college leadership from Cal State Fullerton.

Her previous posts include serving as science department chair and an instructor from 1999 to 2002 at Don Bosco Technical Institute, where she developed Advanced Placement chemistry programs and participated in a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation self-study.

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Her career then shifted to community college, with three posts at ELAC. First, Ramirez served from 2002 to 2006 as a department chair and professor for ELAC’s chemistry department, where she again participated in the accreditation process. For the next six years, she worked as the ELAC dean of academic affairs and career technical education.

In September 2012, she became ELAC’s vice president of academic affairs. In this post, she supervised 12 academic deans, led or supervised instructional and workforce programs, developed collegewide collaboration initiatives, and provide insight and leadership for $100 million in construction projects.

“Dr. Ramirez brings a strong background in community college leadership that will be of great benefit to Rio Hondo College, especially as we continue to strengthen our student support programs, revise our placement of students in basic skills classes and bolster the rigor of our academic offerings,” Board of Trustees President Norma Edith Garcia said.

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